Dating can be expensive. First, you invest time to find someone to ask out. Then, once you have a date, you may spend money on your appearance - a new hair cut, eyebrow wax, manicure, pedicure or a new outfit. If you are a single parent, factor in the cost of a babysitter and snack food for the kids. It's very possible you may have spent a couple hundred dollars before you've even gone on your date.
Then there's the cost of the date. Drinks at a trendy hot spot? $50 and up. Dinner at the latest "must go" restaurant? $100 or more? Going to see a movie can even set you back if you go to the IMAX and stop at the snack bar. The experience of dating can be dampened by the costs associated to have a good time getting to know someone. If you're a serial dater, your costs continue to multiply.
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If your date is cash conscious, running low on money for the month or simply enjoys a good deal, would you consider it cheap if they use a Groupon or Living Social deal on your date? Does the amount of money spent determine if they are worthy of a second date?
Depending on the situation, there could be numerous situations where using a local's discount, coupon deal or check-in perk make sense. Two tickets for the price of one for a Cirque du Soleil show, great deal. Buy one appetizer, get one free at Billy's $2 Beer Barn, maybe not.
If you are choosing to use a promotion for your date, here's a helpful advice:
1) Full disclosure - Don't wait until the bill arrives to tell the server you have a Groupon. Let your date know upfront. Eliminate any awkardness by simply saying, "I heard about this place through Groupon. I thought it'd be great to try for our date."
2) Choose wisely. It may not be about the money, but it is about making a good first impression. If you decide to use a deal, make sure it is one that provides a 'couldn't pass it up' value. Saving $5 on dinner makes you look cheap. Saving $50 on tickets to see Maroon 5 makes you a rockstar.
3) Don't go Dutch. If you are using a coupon, then you pay for the coupon. There's already a built in savings in the purchase. Don't scrape the bottom of the frugal bucket and ask for you date to pay half. Consider the discount enough of a bargain and leave it at that.
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The first few dates should be memorable. Good, bad or ugly, they are laying the foundation for a possible long term relationship. Spending a great deal of money should not be a barometer of how someone can love and care for you. If your date wants to take you to Applebee's but you are a French Laundry type of girl, be humble. First dates are just the beginning. If there's a spark and things develop, you'll have plenty of time to go to places you both enjoy. And who knows - there may just be a coupon available, too.
Contributed by Kimberly James, MatchMaster & Dating Expert, www.findyourplusone.com